nutrition

How Much Zinc Should a Man be Taking? A Simple Guide

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

4 min read

man jumping over rocks on a mountain

Zinc can help men by supporting sexual function, vision, taste, and immune function. Find out how much you need daily and what amount is too much to take.

How much zinc should a man take?

Did you know around four in every ten men don’t get enough zinc in their everyday diets? Since zinc can affect testosterone levels, play a role in sexual function, and support the immune system and vision, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the correct levels of zinc.

Although the body only contains about two to three grams of zinc, the mineral is found throughout the body. It’s concentrated primarily in the muscles and bones, but zinc is found in many organs, from the kidneys and prostate to lungs and eyes.

What is zinc?

Zinc is a trace mineral. In fact, it’s the second most abundant of these minerals in the body, behind only iron. Because it’s a trace mineral, your body doesn’t need very much, but the small amounts required are critically important. Since your body cannot produce this essential mineral on its own, you need to continuously restore the body’s supply, either through food or supplements. Zinc assists with numerous functions in the body, from growing cells to supporting the immune system. A zinc deficiency can be quite common, but it can impair both the sense of taste and smell in healthy people, along with posing numerous other health risks.

How much zinc is right for me?

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends men consume 11 mg of zinc daily. Men with particularly high activity levels or athletes may require slightly more zinc. However, for most men, between 8-11 mg is sufficient.

It’s important to consume the recommended level of zinc each day. A zinc deficiency can negatively impact skin health, the digestive and nervous systems, along with the skeletal system and reproductive function. Additionally, if you take zinc supplements, like zinc gluconate, it’s important to make sure a copper supplement is a part of your routine, too. Zinc supplements can cause a copper deficiency by causing copper to be less absorbed. A copper supplement, however, can effectively address this issue.

What are the benefits of zinc for men?

Maintaining proper zinc levels has many benefits to the body for men. It can help support healthy eyesight through age-related vision changes. Zinc is also important for the support of immune function. Zinc lozenges are popular for immune support because they remain in the mouth and throat area where symptoms can arise. Indigestion can include symptoms like feeling full, bloated or gassy. Zinc can help support the production of digestive enzymes, including hydrochloric acid, which works to break down foods, particularly proteins.

Zinc can be important for fertility and sexual health for men. It can promote healthy hormone levels and may enhance testosterone levels. For men hoping to conceive, zinc has been shown to support healthy seminal fluid and sperm quality and quantity. In fact, a zinc deficiency may negatively impact sperm health. Finally, zinc can support prostate health. Other benefits of zinc include promoting better wound healing, protein absorption and DNA synthesis.

Can men take too much zinc?

It’s rather difficult to consume too much zinc from the foods you eat. However, if you are taking zinc supplements, it’s important to follow the dosing directions. Men should not exceed 40 mg of zinc daily. If you have a pre-existing condition or take prescription medications, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before supplementing with zinc due to potential interactions.

Zinc is generally nontoxic, but long-term high doses that exceed the maximum 40 mg of zinc can lead to nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and copper and iron deficiencies, which can contribute to impaired immune function and anemia.

What are good sources of zinc for men?

Animal-based foods often have the highest concentrations of zinc. Red meat, fish, oysters, and crab are all high in zinc. However, vegetarians and those looking for plant-based sources of zinc can still find zinc in fortified foods, such as cereal, legumes and seeds (pumpkin seeds are particularly a good source of zinc), cremini mushrooms, and tofu. Because plant-based diets can be high in phytates that can disrupt zinc absorption, vegetarians and vegans are encouraged to add a zinc supplement.

When choosing a supplement, it’s important to select one that is chelated, because that can help with absorption. Care/of’s Zinc supplement Immunity Z is highly absorbable because its zinc is attached to a chelating agent, an amino acid in the form of bisglycinate. This can be especially helpful for those with digestive issues who may have trouble with absorption. Care/of’s zinc supplement, which is both vegetarian and vegan, also contains copper to help prevent an imbalance. It’s best to always take a zinc supplement with a meal.

Key takeaways

For men, particularly those who are vegetarian or vegan, zinc deficiency can be common. Zinc cannot be made by the body, and it plays a crucial role in supporting the immune and digestive systems, maintaining male fertility, and helping prevent age-related vision changes. This is why it’s important to make sure you consume 11 mg of zinc, the recommended dietary allowance of zinc each day. Taking too much zinc isn’t helpful and can lead to digestive issues. When taking zinc supplements, do not exceed 40 mg a day and make sure to always supplement with copper, as well, to prevent mineral imbalance.

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